Ver Sé, the parent company of popular news app, NewsHunt launched iPayy, a carrier billing platform that will allow for billing of virtual goods on the mobile at bigMobilityConf, last Saturday. It has also partnered with Paypal so that its global merchants like Facebook and Zynga can also be billed from the mobile.
This is an important development since the digital goods market is slated to grow to $220 billion globally by next year and a majority of it will be on the mobile. But while mobile phones are in the hands of millions, the proliferation of credit and debit card in India is still very low. A report earlier this year said that there were just 18 million credit card users in India compared with over 143 million mobile internet users in the country.
Furthermore the mobile economy is growing and developers are looking for a way to monetize their services.
iPayy is a carrier billing platform that is available across multiple operators, currently only Idea and Airtel, that gives merchants a way to price their products anywhere between Rs 100 and Rs 500. The service will be extended to Vodafone and another operator this month and will cover 80% of the GSM base.
Benefits for Merchants/Developers
For merchants and developers, iPayy provides an easy way to integrate the platform into their service. iPayy says that it should not take more than 30 minutes. It is available on almost all platforms like Android, J2ME, IOS, WAP and custom server to server for aggregators. It also provides a merchant-portal and high end analytics to help merchant view transactions history and analyze data to depth. iPayy also provides integration to popular analytics account available in market, like Google Analytics, so that merchants can analyze their data at single place.
Benefits for Users/Customers
For customers, it provides a safe and consent based billing. The billing process is completed with a one time password (OTP) and is a simple two step process. There is also an end-user-self-care portal in users can view transaction history and raise waivers and other requests. The link to this portal is provided when one does a transaction and receives the confirmation SMS.
While using the iPayy platform, the end users mobile number gets detected through iPayy’s Mobile Number Detection technology. iPayy then delivers the OTP as an USSD or a flash message, which has been copyrighted. This provides for a better user experience since most phones don’t provide a seamless way to switch between the SMS Inbox and an app.
Q&A with the iPayy Team
NextBigWhat sat down with Shailendra Sharma, Virendra Gupta and Prashant Chacko of the iPayy team to understand a little bit more about the service. Edited excerpts:
How does this fit into the Ver Sé vision?
Ver Sé is a company that is great in tackling mobile technology. It wants to play a pivotal role in the open ecosystem and increase monetization models for developers and merchants. Ver se will play a bridge between the mobile and digital economy.
Can you tell us a bit more about the PayPal partnership?
We have signed up with PayPal because they already have a large merchant network. The partnership will allow Indian customers to purchase digital virtual goods from their phones for Facebook, Zynga, Ankama Games, PaymentWall, Zwinky, WorldGolfTours amongst the 100 of other merchants being enabled via the PayPal network. We actually use Zong which is a subsidiary of PayPal which offers carrier payments.
What is the launch strategy for iPayy?
The main role of Ver Se will be to evangelize the platform among developers and merchants. The merchants will then take the responsibility of educating the end user by integrating into the app. Ver se will also reach out to Indian (app) developers by working actively through with Google Developer Group forums and Technology Incubation Centers such as the StartUp Village in Kerala.
What are the transaction costs and revenue sharing model between iPayy, merchants and operators?
We feel that we have struck a pretty good deal with the operators. While the operators will get approximately 30% of the revenue, the rest will be shared between the merchant and iPayy. iPayy will get close to 5% of the total amount.
Could we see the service coming to the respective smartphone apps soon?
We are currently in talks with Google to integrate the service into the Play Store. Many Android customers are willing to pay for apps but with just the credit card requirement are unable to do so. We hope that the talks lead to something fruitful so that developers can have an additional source of revenue. But it is totally up to Google, so this may take time.
How has the traction been so far?
Within 3 days, more than 20 merchants have gone live on the platform. We are seeing over Rs 50,000 per day in transactions. We are confident that this will be 10 fold within the next three months.
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